So there have been a bunch of albums that I’ve missed over the past couple months that I probably could have reviewed but didn’t feel strongly enough one way or the other, so it never happened. Here now is a compilation review of the things I have listened to, but never reviewed:
Feist-Metals: If you enjoyed Let It Die and The Reminder, and were hoping that Leslie wouldn’t stray too far from the sound of those records, you’re in luck. Metals is slow, almost mockingly so. I liked Let It Die quite a bit when it came out, and The Reminder was just more of the same in my mind. But, when your song gets picked to be in a iPod commercial, you’re bound to gain some fans (see: Fitz And The Tantrums). I just couldn’t find a way to get into Metals, and decided not to waste any more time with it when I already heard what a great Feist album would sound like via St. Vincent’s Mercy.
Wilco-The Whole Love: So I kinda reviewed this one. When they had the album streaming I jotted down some thoughts, and then was crucified by hardcore Wilco fans for hating. Well, guess what guys…my feelings about the album haven’t changed much with time. I still think it’s a pretty good, somewhat inconsistent record. I bought the big bundle, and I traveled to Madison to see them play (and we have tickets to see them twice in Chicago), so if you still think I’m a hater I won’t be able to dissuade you. Don’t take this comparison too seriously, but those fans are kind of like the people who say, “Oh yeah. Family Guy is TOTALLY still funny.” Sometimes you have to admit that your favorite band is fallible.
L’il Wayne-Tha Carter IV: Terrible. Next.
Marketa Irglova-Anar: Great voice. Really boring music.This album works well as background noise, but actively listening to it won’t garner any rewards. Marketa is the kind of singer that needs someone on the lower end to balance out her high voice.
The Jayhawks-Mockingbird Time: It took me a long time to warm up to The Jayhawks, and about five minutes of this album for that to freeze over. Gary Louris and Mark Olson put out a much more satisfying album last year, and it makes this release feel like it was done out of obligation rather than passion. Just a real snoozefest.
Fountains Of Wayne-Sky Full Of Holes: Surprisingly really good. FoW have perfected pop music and now they get to reap the benefits of years of toiling with the others who are known as “that band that had a song on Scrubs.” The tune “Road Song” is my favorite on the record, but it’s all good. Definitely recommended.
Fionn Regan-100 Acres Of Sycamore: I liked this a lot more than I liked his last album, which garnered him a Mercury Prize nomination. Both are strong lyrically, but I think the melodies and overall production on the new record is much better. I don’t believe this has been officially released in the states yet, but it should be soon.
Chris Isaak-Beyond The Sun: So sue me, I like Chris Isaak. This record is a bunch of covers of country songs and 50’s hits. If you dig Isaak, you’ll like his versions of such tunes as “Ring Of Fire,” “I Forgot To Remember To Forget,” and “Great Balls of Fire.” If you don’t think he’s cool, you’ll probably hate this.
Coldplay-Mylo Xyloto: Um, it’s a Coldplay record all right. It’s weird that this band seems to sell the most records but keeps the title as the world’s most hated group. I don’t dislike them as much as most people I know, but I do think they’re wildly overrated. After the fairly dynamic Viva La Vida, Mylo Xyloto sounds like the band was sleepwalking through 90’s pop trends in the studio. Oh well, they can’t all be mediocre.
Friendly Fires-Pala: Pretty decent for the first three or four songs, but it feels a bit repetitive after that. Fun for a dance party where everyone is super drunk after fifteen minutes so the quality of music doesn’t matter as much.
Real Estate-Days: I get why people like this record, and I’m not saying I DON’T like it…it’s just that I’ve heard basically the same album about five times this year, so I don’t get excited when another band rehashes the same thing. They sound good, though.
Tyler Ramsey-The Valley Wind: So a lot of times when a guy comes from a popular band to do a solo record, he likes to go a different direction (see Ronnie Vanucci’s Big Talk record). Not so for Tyler Ramsey, who so closely follows the Band Of Horses formula, I fail to see how a solo release was even necessary. My guess was that he had a bunch of songs that Ben Bridwell said weren’t good enough, so to shut Ramsey up they said “just go make a solo record.” I like Ramsey’s voice, and the album is listenable, but nothing great.
Ok, I think that pretty much catches us up with older stuff. If you bought any of these albums and hated them, I’m sorry I couldn’t get to them sooner. To make up for it, go and download that Sons Of An Illustrious Father album that comes out tomorrow. It’s sure to set things right.